Truckee Donner PUD, Truckee Fire collaborate on Adopt a Hydrant program

Submitted to the Sun
Local agencies urge community members to remove snow from fire hydrants to facilitate access in an emergency.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee Donner Public Utility District and Truckee Fire Protection District are joining forces to encourage community members to help keep our community safe by adopting a fire hydrant this winter.

In a winter as snowy as this one, snow removal is top of mind for Truckee residents. While most people focus on removing snow from driveways, walkways, decks and roofs, not everyone thinks about removing snow from shared community resources like fire hydrants.

There are almost 3,000 fire hydrants in the Truckee Fire Protection District, and while TDPUD and Truckee Fire clear some priority hydrants on main roads and near critical infrastructure, it’s not practical or feasible to task either agency with providing the resources necessary to clear the thousands of hydrants in town following each storm. 

“Truckee Fire works hard to keep our community safe, but in the winter we need our community’s assistance to fulfill this mission,” said Ryan Ochoa, Truckee Fire battalion chief. “We are asking people to pitch in and help keep their neighborhood hydrants clear so that we can get straight to work in the event of an emergency. The time we save on not having to locate and dig out hydrants is time that we can spend putting out a fire and protecting your home.”

TDPUD and Truckee Fire are asking Truckee residents to “Adopt a Hydrant” in their neighborhood, and work with their neighbors to keep it clear of snow. The agencies recommend clearing a three-foot space around the entire hydrant, as well as clearing an access path from the hydrant to the street. This will ensure that firefighters have enough room around the hydrant to work, as well as allow them to identify and access the hydrant upon arrival. Residents should also exercise caution and use the appropriate tools when removing snow to avoid damaging the hydrant.

“When huge snow berms are an everyday part of winter life in Truckee, it can be easy to forget that some important items lie under all that snow,” said Chad Reed, TDPUD water director. “Unfortunately, many people don’t think about it until something goes wrong. Whether it’s your meter, your main shutoff valve, or your street’s fire hydrant, it’s important to keep access to this critical equipment clear of snow.”


House fires occur at the highest rates during the winter months. When Truckee Fire responds to put out a house fire, they arrive with enough water to make an initial fire attack, but firefighters are quickly in need of a continuous water supply from a fire hydrant to extinguish some fires.

Finding and connecting to a fire hydrant is one of the firefighters’ first priorities, but accessing them when they are buried under heavy snow can be a challenge. Firefighters might have to spend valuable time searching for and digging out a hydrant when they could be doing other important tasks to knock down a fire in your neighborhood.

When the weather is clear, take some time to locate your nearest hydrant, and do your part to keep it clear of snow and ice.

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